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  Throne Room
Artist: CeCe Winans
Label: Epic/INO
Length: 16 tracks / 70:15 mins.

If you take the peaceful, reflective moments of CeCe Winans' Alabaster Box, combine them with the inspirational balladry of her breakout Alone in His Presence, and add hints of the celebratory pop touches of her fun self-titled album, you'll get Throne Room, a worshipful collection of inspirational gospel and jubilant praise that marks her label debut for Epic Records.

As a matter of fact, Throne Room doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to the way it covers these two spectrums, since the first half-appropriately titled Songs of Worship and Reflection--is hushed ("Jesus, You're Beautiful") and minimalistic ("By Thy Blood"), and it finds CeCe breathily intoning, as if whispering, her sweet words of adoration and reverence for her Savior. This is certainly a big departure from the Whitney-like vocals of efforts past, but that still doesn't negate the fact that this is still a CeCe record, since it displays her recurring penchant for vertically-focused compositions.

If the first half placed the spotlight on Christ, the second half, the slightly more festive ("Hallelujah Praise") and inspirational ("Mercy Said No") Songs of Praise and Adoration_ acts more as our response to the love of the Father, while taking us back to vintage CeCe territory, that powerhouse, take-no-prisoners vocalist we've come to know.

Whatever the flavor you prefer, Throne Room is still a gorgeous and elegant pop Gospel album that both you and your mom won't have much to disagree on while taking long road trips. In case you still miss the CeCe of old, do not despair, since she's poised to deliver a new pop album early next year.

Andree Farias    09/17/03

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